Government criticised on jobs record

Wed, Oct 3, 2012, 01:00

IRELAND HAD lost more jobs per capita in the past four years than any other country since the great depression, Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín told the Dáil.

“This is a phenomenal indictment of the Government’s policies and those of the previous Government,” he said.

He said that a total of 87,000 people emigrated last year, which was more than the number that sat the Leaving Certificate.

Mr Tóibín said the action plan for jobs, launched last February, was to create 100,000 additional jobs. In that period alone, 33,000 jobs had been lost, he said.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said the collapse of the construction industry had led to 60 per cent of employment in that sector being wiped out. A total of 160,000, mainly male, employees had lost their jobs.

“There is a huge job to create a new economy that will absorb people from the sectors that, as we know, are in decline,” he said. “They grew too big and the policy that supported them was not sustainable.” Mr Bruton said that last year was the IDA’s best in a decade, in terms of jobs created.

International investment in Ireland had returned and the dramatic collapse in indigenous export-oriented companies had been reversed, he said.

“We have seen a huge turnaround but I do not underestimate the scale of the challenge,” said Mr Bruton.

He added that the merit of the action plan for jobs was that every department focused annually on what changes could be made to make a practical contribution to the target. Mr Tóibín said that Spicers Bakery in Navan, Co Meath, had closed its doors on Monday.

“It had been in operation since 1834 and survived the Famine, the Black and Tan war, two world wars and every recession in between,” he said. “It has not survived the policy of this Government.”

Mr Bruton said the food sector was doing very well. “If one looks at the data, one will see that Irish food companies are winning markets in China, India and all across the globe,” he added.